16th Nov 2012 4:05am | By Hugh Radojev
This film became something of a cultural phenomena in France when it was released in 2011, and now it has begun to capture the hearts of audiences worldwide.
It follows the heartbreaking, yet humorous, story of a disenfranchised Senegalese man living just above the poverty line on the mean outskirts of Paris who becomes the carer of a fabulously wealthy quadriplegic.
While this description may not sound like a barrel of laughs, trust me when I say that this really is an amusing film. The humour oozes from the two main characters – the paralysed Phillipe (played wonderfully well by Cluzet) and the strapping young Driss (played by an equally magnificent Omar Sy).
The genuine affection they come to have for one another plays out beautifully in their laugh-out-loud banter. The secondary characters, who also care for the invalid Phillipe, similarly play great supporting roles, particularly the fiery and beautiful Magalie (Audrey Fleurot) the object of Driss’ desires.
Other reviewers have been less charitable to the film, some going as far as to label it a Driving Miss Daisy without the excuses for the black character being in servitude to the rich, white benefactor. Without going into the delicate race relations that exist within modern French society, the film portrays the relationship between the two men – black and white – in a sensitive and engaging way.
Such a view might be grounded in post-colonial academic discourses, but it detracts from what is a very well made, and generally lovely film. Good for: Anyone in the mood for a laugh and a warm fuzzy feeling at the end.
Good for: Anyone in the mood for a laugh and a warm fuzzy feeling at the end.
Verdict: Four stars